How serious is quinsy?

How serious is quinsy?

How serious is quinsy?

A peritonsillar abscess or quinsy is a painful throat condition which can be caused by several throat infections. Although some sore throat treatments will ease discomfort no matter what the condition is, knowing whether or not your throat pain is caused by a quinsy can help you know whether you should be concerned. It can also make it easier for your doctor or pharmacist to suggest the right treatment to get you back to optimal health as soon as possible.

What does quinsy look like?

If you’re in pain from a sore throat, stopping to consider the exact symptoms you’re experiencing might not be your top priority. However, knowing your symptoms could help you to get better quicker with targeted treatments specific to your condition.

According to the NHS, symptoms of quinsy include:[1]

  • A painful and swiftly worsening sore throat, usually in one side of the throat rather than both
  • Swelling of the mouth or throat which may cause difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Difficulty opening your mouth which may impact speaking, eating and drinking

Although peritonsillar abscesses are usually caused by the spread of a separate throat infection such as tonsillitis or glandular fever, this isn’t always the case. It’s important not to rule out quinsy when suffering from a severe sore throat just because you haven’t recently had a throat infection.

How long does a peritonsillar abscess last?

After treatment, a quinsy usually lasts for around a week[2]. This is treatment from a medical professional – either your GP or a doctor at a hospital. Symptomatic treatments such as Ultra Chloraseptic’s soothing throat spray can ease the pain of sore throat symptoms, but you’ll likely need specialised treatment for the abscess itself.

It’s important to take any medication for as long as your doctor advises you to. For example, if you are prescribed antibiotics to treat a peritonsillar abscess and don’t finish the course because the abscess has cleared up, you risk the bacteria becoming resistant to those antibiotics. This can mean that the same treatment might not work again in the future, which could lead to further complications to your health.

Is peritonsillar abscess an emergency?

Quinsy is not always a life threatening condition, however it can be if symptoms are allowed to get worse without treatment. For example, swelling in the throat and mouth can be uncomfortable to begin with, but if the area becomes more swollen, it may block off all or part of the throat. This can make it very difficult to breathe, and this of course is an emergency.

The fact that peritonsillar abscesses aren’t immediately life threatening doesn’t mean you should just ignore them and hope they go away. While it would be excessive to call an ambulance for a quinsy with no complications, you should still get it looked at by a doctor as soon as possible to reduce the risk of complications developing.

No matter what the cause, if you are choking or can’t breathe, it is vital that you get immediate medical attention. The best way to prevent breathing difficulties caused by quinsy is to speak to a doctor about treatment options.

What happens if a peritonsillar abscess bursts?

A peritonsillar abscess is a swollen pocket full of pus which forms on or around the tonsils at the back of your throat. If more pus builds up in the swollen area, the abscess could potentially burst, releasing the pus into your mouth and throat. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but if it happens it can be very bad for your health. In fact, if some of the pus from a peritonsillar abscess reaches your lungs, it could cause pneumonia[3].